School Board Passes Bonus Decision to Supervisors

After three years without a pay increase Clarke County’s teachers and school support staff are about to receive a small token of financial appreciation from county taxpayers … maybe.

On Monday night the Clarke County School Board unanimously approved a one-time “hybrid” payment of approximately 1.7% of salaries to all school employees currently on the CCPS payroll. The “hybrid” compensation plan, which differs from traditional plans where employees receive a straight percentage of a fixed salary amount, is intended to ensure that low salary earners receive a “lump sum” payment – rather than a small percentage of an already small salary – while more tenured staff members receive a traditional fixed percentage amount. Employees at the top end of the CCPS pay scale, above $60K, will also receive a lump sum payment.

The total cost to Clarke County taxpayers of the one-time payout is $246K with around $228K available for actual distribution once federal taxes have been deducted.

“It’s important to be reminded that this $250K is not a lot of money on the whole,” CCPS School Superintendent Dr. Michael Murphy said to the school board and approximately thirty people who attended the Monday night meeting. “The money earmarked for employee compensation is less than 2% of the district’s total payroll.”

While the actual payment amounts to school staff will be small (the 120 full-time-equivalent staff members making less than $25K will receive $425, the 16 staff members making over $60K will receive $1,020 while the approximately 97 remaining staff will receive an average of around $1,500 each) school administration based the suggested one-time payment, in part, based on compensation patterns in neighboring jurisdictions.

Assistant Superintendent Rick Catlett presented the school board with compensation research indicating that nearly all of Clarke County’s fourteen neighboring school districts intend to offer their staff some form of compensation increase in either fiscal year 2011 or 2012.

During public comment on the proposed salary bonuses several CCPS teachers and one member of the general public spoke in favor of the one-time payment.

Kristen Barker, a fourth grade teacher at Boyce Elementary school, told the school board that a one-time “hardship stipend” will provide an important show of support to Clarke County’s teaching community. Kathy Hudson, a librarian at Boyce Elementary, said that even a small amount of money will do a lot to help teacher morale.

Clarke County citizen Tony Parrott told the school board that a pay increase for  CCPS employee was long overdue. “Three years without a raise is pretty depressing, even in this economy” Parrott said.

Although the Clarke County School Board approved the one-time payment using carryover funding from fiscal year 2009, the recommendation must now be forwarded to the Clarke County Board of Supervisors for final review. But even though Monday night’s school board action came after months of discussion prior to final adoption of the county budget, the Board of Supervisors has not sent a clear signal that it intends to approve the payment.

During budget deliberations at least one supervisor, John Staelin (Millwood) voiced concern that if school employees receive a bonus fairness requires that county employees receive similar treatment. The Supervisors have also repeatedly warned the school board that the coming fiscal year is shaping up to be more challenging than the current economic situation which recently necessitated elimination of eight full-time-equivalent positions from the school district payroll.

In any case, the school board’s Monday night approval of the one-time payout to school employees now moves forward to the Board of Supervisors for likely consideration at a June public hearing.  Perhaps signaling that the final disposition of a payment is not quite yet a done deal, school board chairman Barbara Lee (Millwood) offered a reminder to the crowd as it filed out of the school board meeting after the hearing the affirmative vote;

“If there is a public hearing on this I hope to see all of your beautiful faces there!” Lee said.




  1. Andy Kiser says:

    It is a worthy effort on the part of the School Board to advance this one-time payment plan forward. For the past three years (and heading into a fourth), there have been no salary increases for school division employees, yet we’ve seen our buying power erode as the costs of living have gone up. We’ve also endured the stress of continually being asked to do more with less: less staff, less resources, less new technology.

    Yet, the simple fact is that we show up every day and do our level best for our students because that’s who we are. We are professionals. We’re bus drivers, teachers, nurses, guidance counselors, librarians, instructional aides, cafeteria workers, custodians, secretaries, and administrators…a hard-working group of education professionals who strive each day to give every child that steps onto that bus and who enters those front doors the best opportunity for an education he or she can get. Is it tough? Absolutely. Could we use more resources, pay, and enwer technology? Sure thing! But, despite the tough times, we roll up our sleeves and make the magic of education happen, because at the end of the day, that’s what it’s about – seeing a child’s eyes light up when they “get it” and feel pride and excitement that he or she has learned and accomplished something.

    As Teacher Appreciation Week draws to a close, we appreciate the efforts of the School Board to provide this one-time pay offering. We also encourage the Board of Supervisors to approve the School Board’s request to return the $246,000 in carryover funds (from FY2009) to the School Board for this purpose. These funds, appropriated in 2008, have been sitting in the county bank account since then earning interest. The salary enhancement is a one-time offer; it does not represent an on-going expense, nor does it require any new county funds to bring it to fruition. The money is already there; it just needs to be transferred from one account to another.

    Yes, times are tough, but – when other divisions are stepping up to the plate for their education professionals, either with a one-time payment OR salary increases – it would send a loud message that the Clarke County supervisors agree with the School Board and members of the community that our school staff are worth it. In the meantime, we’ll keep doing what we do best – giving the students of Clarke County the best education possible with what is available to us.

  2. Tony Parrott says:

    This is a step I the right direction but it is a very small step.
    The SB and BOS should start looking into a 3% pay raise across the board for all county employees. My understanding is both school and county employees haven’t received a pay increase in 3 years. Correct?

  3. Stonebroke says:

    I bet none of the Board of Supervisors have that worry of how to make the rent payment and provide for their families. I bet if their annual income was that of a teacher,bus driver or janitor, they would have no problem approving this offering. It is pretty sad that the school board and administrators have to beg to even get this on the table of discussion. I can almost see it now — CDN reports– Board of Supervisors vote unanimously against bonus for school division staff!

  4. My 2 Cents says:

    Pete Dunning= a NO vote everytime! He and his farmer cronies have no worries because they have that silver spoon in their mouths!!! How in the heck did this dude get re-elected soooo many times? If they vote this down, I hope they are ready from a community who will be irrate!!!

  5. Just wow says:

    This is better news than I got from a friend last night in upstate NY. A town just like Berryville is cutting 27 of their teachers. I’m not sure what part of a bad economy some of you dont get. Teachers all over this Country are being let go by small towns and big City school systems.

    I have another friend that has 3 masters, guess what they cant get a teaching job.

    This is small Town America in the same situation as the rest of the USA!!

    Theres no stock pile of money here in CC.

    • Smellin roses says:

      I think the point is that the money’s already there; the School Board simply needs the supervisors’ authorization to gain access to it and spend it however they wish. It’s not a new tax levy, or anything. It’s money already there.

      Unlike here in Virginia, other localities (such as many up north) grant school boards the power to levy their own revenue. And…you’re forgettin that this division has eliminated 8.16 positions for next year. So…yeah…this division seems to be cutting back, too. Still…if we can give the teachers and other school folks some token of extra pay, I’m for it. It’s the least we can do for all the good they do.

  6. Stonebroke says:

    “While the actual payment amounts to school staff will be small (the 120 full-time-equivalent staff members making less than $25K will receive $425, the 16 staff members making over $60K will receive $1,020 while the approximately 97 remaining staff will receive an average of around $1,500 each)”

    Rich get Richer and the Poor get the short end of the stick! Who is the remaining 97 staff that receives the $1,500? Let me guess, the highest paid salaries in the school systems? WOW!

    CDN Editor: The 97 staff members earning between $25K – $60K will receive an average of $1,500 (depending on the base salary of the individual.)

    • Stonebroke says:

      Oh sorry. The way I read it is that if you make less than $25K, you will receive $425. If you make over $60K you will receive $1,020 and that the remaining 97 staff (whomever they might be) will receive an average of 1,500? Thanks for clarifying!

      CDN Editor: While the “hybrid” compensation formula is more complex than a flat bonus amount or straight percentage, the School Board’s decision was influenced by the member’s desire to provide an equitable package for all employees regardless of salary. JAS director Tom Judge presented the school board with options for a percentage distribution, a flat rate and the hybrid plan ultimately approved. Under the flat rate plan each employee would have received $688 regardless of salary. Under the percentage distribution each employee would have received 1.9% of annual salary.

  7. My 2 Cents says:

    We all know this because we have ZERO tax revenue….. Not to beat a dead horse here, but I think you catch my drift!!! Hobby Shops that make up the 90% of business’s in town just is not going to cut it!

  8. Lonnie Bishop says:

    All I got to say is that, if the money’s already there, then the Supervisors got no reason to decline the request. Those ladies and gentlemen work hard every day. If Mr. Staelin doesn’t want to give the county employees a bonus, says more about him and Mr. Ash than anything else. Reckon that supervisors’ meeting on the 24th will be eye-opening…

  9. GOPjunky says:

    Please lets get the teachers a bonus quick! They will need it for the summer break!! While the Sheriff’s Deputies take there turns babysitting the youth of Clarke for the summer without any bonuses or pay raises!

    What a joke! Ask a student from a Clarke county school to balance a check book or make you change for a 10 and then tell me they teachers need a bonus!!

    • That’s cold!!! Visit a classroom and actually see what is going on. Volunteer in your school(s). Help out with school activities BEFORE you criticize what you don’t know. BTW, how many students actually have a check book instead of a debit card? And because Consumer Math is no longer a class and balancing a checkbook is not in the SOLs it’s no longer in the curriculum.

      Also, remember that editing what you write is an important SOL!

      • GOPjunky says:

        I had 2 children in CC schools.. I lived in Clarke Co. until last year when i had enough of the BS! I live in Frederick Co. and see the change in my children and wouldn’t give a CC teacher anything but a pink slip if it were up to me.

        • You just don’t know…

        • livingin22620 says:

          Obviously your children aren’t old enough to go to Sherando, GOP. While they have some very good teachers (as does CC) the gang activity there is only getting worse.

        • Fly on the wall says:

          Why don’t you get back to work at your CC job, GOP, and stop dumpin on the teachers in CC. The middle school your kids will/do go to, Aylor, is the only one in the area to get an invite to participate in the governor’s merit pay gimmick pecause it is “hard to staff” and under-performing…guess ya overlooked that factoid, eh? The gang activity @ Sherando, on top of the overcrowding, cuts against most other benefits, imho.

          Methinks your vitriol is misdirected at the CC teachers.

          • GOPjunky says:

            Nope i’ll keep dumping!! Teachers have it made… If you want more money go somewhere else and work! everyone pays more than CC. although they will expect better results than CC puts out so maybe thats why their there!

            Clarke County High

            Public – Grades: 9-12
            District: Clarke County Pblc Schs

            240 Westwood Dr
            Berryville, VA 22611-9609 (map)
            (540) 955-6130

            Total Students (2009 – 2010): 762
            Fulltime teachers: 46.9
            Student/Teacher Ratio: 16.2
            Eligible for discounted/free lunch: 100 ( 13 %)

            Clarke County High ranks 300th of 324 Virginia public high schools.
            Schooldigger District Rating:

            Clarke County Pblc Schs ranks 117th of 130 Virginia school districts.
            Average Parent Rating

            Total Students (2009 – 2010): 1592
            Fulltime teachers: 97.4
            Student/Teacher Ratio: 16.3
            Eligible for discounted/free lunch: 343 ( 22 %)

            Type: Regular school
            Status: Operational
            Locale: Rural: Fringe
            (Submit Updates)
            Schooldigger Rating:

            Sherando High ranks 89th of 324 Virginia public high schools.
            Schooldigger District Rating:

            Frederick County Pblc Schs ranks 90th of 130 Virginia school districts.
            How would you rate Sherando High?

            Yea them CC schools are awesome! BONUS BONUS thats why the student population is dropping off because there so great! Everyone knows people move away from great schools!! lol

  10. Lonnie Bishop says:

    When you factor in high staff turnover, which this division had a few years back, technology and other resources that are really old and dated (I know…I’ve gone to my back-to-school nights with my grandkids and seen it), and other limitations brought about by cutting resources, positions, and such…you get what ya pay for and invest in.

    You seem to miss the point in your rush to be a crank – the money is already there, from 3 years ago, earnin interest for the supervisors. Let the schools give the employees a one-time payment; it certainly ain’t a “bonus” given what they have to work with.

  11. GOPjunky says:

    Honestly that is more than reasonable. My beef is more with how is it justified to just give teachers a onetime payment and not everyone else as well. It’s always teachers this and teachers that. There are allot of folks working for CC how about them as well. CC schools are 300th out of 324. It’s hard for me to wrap my mind around the fact that they deserve anything with that kind of performance. Certainly if they deserve it so doesn’t every other county employee. Who I might add don’t get their summers off!

    My son has excelled at Sherando. That in itself doesn’t necessarily mean CC schools are bad but the level of service as a parent is vastly different and in my opinion there is no comparison between the two school systems. Furthermore he is in school with 3 kids he went to CC schools with so I find it interesting that people seem to be moving across county lines not out of state or across the country.

    I am one of the ones that have tried to cut my ties to CC. I still work there but this too is temporary. I am worth more than CC pays and with some luck will be leaving for more money elsewhere. For what I do every jurisdiction that touches CC pays more than I make in Clarke including Jefferson Co.

    Why in the world would you and me for that matter continue to work for a county that values its employees as little as CC values it’s employee’s.

  12. Lonnie Bishop says:

    Well, GOP, if Mr. Ash and the supervisors don’t want to give their employees a one-time payment, that’s on them, right? The schools have a different board, and a different man in charge.

    As for the rankings, there a lot of things that go into it…as the website you noted says. In my view, ya get what’s ya pay for. This county has a well-established rep for doin things on the cheap. Just look here, at archived articles on the debate and handwringing over getting new accounting software, a new server for the Treasurer, glitches with that joint judicial center, etc. If we as a community odn’t provide the resources (texts, technology, updated workbooks and materials, professional training, etc.), then how can we expect them to gain ground on other divisions. Ya can’t. In my day, it was the 3Rs, but it was also a heavy dose of the classics and critical thinkin and “gotta beat the Russians!” Things are different now, and it’s up to all of us to step up and give them what they need.

  13. GOPjunky says:

    Right different board! SAME TAXPAYER MONEY!!!!!!! Funny how that always gets overlooked. The schools only have it because people payed their taxes!

    whatever its all good… Enjoy the “one time payment” just think how much they would get if they weren’t in the bottom of the state rankings..

    • Laura Stevens says:

      GOP, you have moved and are obviously pleased as punch with your new county but your claim that our schools are substandard doesn’t hold water. Boyce Elementary has earned Top and Second tier excellence in education awards several years running, where Bass-Hoover has only made it to third tier in the Governor’s awards. You don’t live here anymore, you don’t pay taxes her anymore, so what makes you so bitter that you have to spew so much venom and vitriol at the thought of CC teachers getting a bonus?

      • GOPjunky says:

        I’m all good now.. No more out of me on this topic! I don’t care what you all do with your money!

        Clarke County Schools

        Frederick County Schools

        I’m bitter because I had to move out of that god forsaken County to get a:

        1) decent school!
        2) Affordable House!
        3) More than 1 grocery store!
        4) road with lines on it!
        5) Full time firemen!
        6) Parks with actual events going on!

        But you have your views and I have mine! I will say though that across the country Education is on the run. America is falling behind all these other nations. Thousands of teachers are loosing their jobs.. Clarke Schools have shrinking student #’s. People are waking up to the overinflated school budgets and the miserable results were getting for the $$$$$…..

        You should fight for your jobs and your money!!!! But don’t think for a second we the public that pays you to teach should automatically just be happy about the job you are doing and the money you want to do it!

        To answer your question: ” You don’t live here anymore, you don’t pay taxes her anymore, so what makes you so bitter that you have to spew so much venom and vitriol at the thought of CC teachers getting a bonus”? I still own land in Clarke Co. so I still have a say! But as soon as I can sell that useless land I will be gone from here!

        • Laura Stevens says:

          Your still owning land in Clarke makes a valid point about taxes and somewhat answers my question. As you can see, I haven’t thumbed down your comment because I believe as you stated, “…you have your views and I have mine.” We must agree to disagree on the bonus issue.

  14. Anna Murray says:

    My question is how, if at all, will this one-time bonus benefit the students? Will it incentivize the teachers? I doubt it, as it is not based on merit in any way. The World Civilization Classes parts 1 and 2 have no text books. How can history be taught without books? If the money must be spent, a better strategy for learning would be to purchase books and/or other materials for the students. For teacher salaries, how about a forward looking, planned, pay increase based on a planned budget?

    While I sympathize with the teachers that have not had a pay raise in four years, their situation, unfortunately, is not unusual. Most of us who have jobs have not receive a pay raise or a bonus in several years. Those of us without jobs are also struggling to find work. We are all being asked to tighten our belts in this economy. What good will a one time bonus do for the quality of education in the County?

    • My 2 Cents says:

      Keep those teachers here. Teachers are just like you and me Anna. Yes, they need money to pay these outrageous Electric and Water Bills. If CC doesn’t pay them like they should be, they will go where the money is…… I hate to be rude, but in today’s society, you gotta feed your kids first….. [redacted]

      • Anna Murray says:

        My point is that a one-time bonus will not keep or attract teachers! If they want to go where the money is, they will go somewhere where they will be certain of the money rather than just hoping for the possibility of a hand-out when the Board of Supervisors feels generous and there happens to be a little bit left over in the budget. I think that $250K would be better turned into some type of teacher incentive, with advance notice to the teachers advising them that teachers who accomplish certain goals will be eligible to receive bonuses!

        Moreover, in this market, I would say kudos to any teacher who can move into a school system where they receive more compensation! Let the free market work!